China,India Mustn’t Fall Into Trap Of Rivalry Set By The West

A second visit by a sitting US president to India, the first time on record, has undoubtedly drawn wide attention from the international community. However, the tricky part of so much attention is that, as we watched Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greet US President Barack Obama with a bear hug at Delhi airport on Sunday, many eyes, naturally, have turned to a third party - China.

Many reports by Western media have pointed out that the US, regardless of historical complications, is putting more efforts into soliciting India to act as a partner, even an ally, to support Washington's "pivot to Asia" strategy, which is mainly devised to counter China's rise. As for India, which has ambitions to be a major power, it needs US investment, technologies and political support so that its "Look East" foreign policy will better function to counterbalance China's growing influence.

Through these reports, there seems to be only a fixed pattern to observe Sino-Indian relations. Recent years have witnessed a tendency in international public opinion that whenever India makes a move, it is perceived to be aimed at China. This time, the stereotyped mindset seems to have prevailed again when the US president and Indian prime minister hugged in New Delhi. 

This fixed pattern of thinking was created and hyped up by the West, which, with ulterior motives, regards the "Chinese dragon" and the "Indian elephant" as natural rivals. This theory, under the strong publicity campaigns of the West, has become plausible even in both Indian and Chinese public opinion, although it is more popular in India than in China.
The West is egging India on to be fully prepared for "threats" posed by its large neighbor. Considering the fact that both sides still have territorial disputes and will probably have wider engagement at many levels, this so-called rivalry between India and China will not stop making headlines in Western media.

Ecuador Loses Another Dhruv Helo To Crash

The Ecuadorian Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Ecuatoriana: FAE) lost a Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Dhruv utility helicopter to a training accident in late January, the second to be lost this month and the fourth since deliveries began in 2009.

The accident, which is reported to have occurred on 27 January (the Ministry of Defence has yet to confirm it), happened near the town of Tena in the remote interior of the country.
According to the reports, there were no casualties among the four personnel on board.
Ecuador signed the agreement with HAL in 2008 for seven Dhruv helicopters at a cost of USD45 million. These were to be delivered in kit form and assembled in Ecuador, but this plan was later abandoned with the aircraft instead being manufactured in India.
In FAE service the Dhruv is operated by 2211 Combat Squadron, 22 Combat Wing (221 Combat Group), based at Simón Bolivar Airbase.

Dhruv Utility Helicopter
Dhruv Utility Helicopter

With this accident, the FAE has lost more than half of its Dhruv fleet in less than five years of operations. The first aircraft was lost on 28 October 2009, the second on 22 February 2014, the third on 13 January 2015, and the most recent reportedly on 27 January 2015. While at least one of these incidents has been attributed to pilot error, a loss rate of close to 60% is significant.

Dhruv crashes have not just been confined to Ecuador, the type's only export customer. India has also suffered multiple losses since introducing the type into service with its armed forces in 2002. Indeed, India has grounded its entire fleet on several occasions following crashes.

Chinese listening Stations In Fujian Province Upgraded

China has installed new aerial listening stations on the coast of its Fujian Province, a military spokesman said yesterday, adding that are being taken to counter surveillance and enhance the security of important electronic communications.

Ministry of National Defense spokesperson Major General David Lo said the military is monitoring the development closely and that Taiwan has its own surveillance system to deal with intelligence gathering by Chinese signal-snooping stations.
The statement came one day after the Canada-based Kanwa Information Center reported that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had set up at least three large aerial listening stations, directly across the Strait from Taiwan.

Lo said that the ministry has instructed its telecommunications units to strictly follow established regulations on frequency signals and radio data encryption to ensure the security of classified information.

According to Kanwa, the PLA has been installing new facilities in Fujian to monitor telecommunications and radio signals, including mobile phones and other types of wireless communications, from military bases and government institutions across the nation’s western region.

One new monitoring station is reportedly only about 23km from the PLA’s Longtian Air Base, where S-300 PMU-2 surface-to-air missiles are deployed. All the antennae and radar dishes at the base are directed toward Taipei and Greater Taichung, Kanwa reported.
Two other new Fujian bases have installed radomes and antennae to intercept electromagnetic waves from Taiwan’s military radar systems, as well as other telecommunications and radio signals, the report said.

China intelligence station near Fujian
China intelligence station near Fujian

It is known that the stations are administered by the Third Department and Fourth Department of the PLA’s General Staff Department, which are responsible for “technical reconnaissance” and cyberwarfare, monitoring telecommunications traffic, electronic countermeasures and radar intelligence-gathering.

A satellite photograph in the Kanwa report shows that the monitoring station near Longtian Air Base has 10 parabolic radar antennae of various sizes, and six large radomes — a weatherproof enclosure that protects a radar antenna inside it.

Russia testing new missile battery in Donbas, expert says

Russian/rebel troops in the area of Bakhmut road have used a new missile system against the Ukrainian army, Prava sprava NGO head Dmytro Snehiriov writes.

Popasna was the town where the Russian tested their new weapon for the first time. New 220-mm missiles leave much bigger craters than Grad missiles or mortar mines.
The new missile battery has completed testing in Russia, military design bureau Splav Mykola Makarovets confirmed. 

After the testing in Russia, Moscow decided to use the new weapon in Donbas, the expert said. 

Model of Next Generation Aircraft Carrier in Central China

Satellite images provided by Google Maps indicated that China is apparently building a model aircraft carrier on land at an unknown place in Central China, according to China's nationalistic newspaper Global Times.

Model of Aircraft Carrier in Central China
Model of Aircraft Carrier in Central China

The model of the aircraft carrier is 300 meters long and 80 meters wide. Aboard its flight deck, there is a large helicopter and a carrier-based fighter which looks to be a J-15. Models of an unknown type of surface combat vessel can be seen right next to the aircraft carrier. By looking at the bridge of that model warship, military experts from China said that the vessel is very likely a Type 055 guided-missile destroyer designed to compete against US Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

Russian Tank Maker Doesn't Want Armata Sold To Beijing

Uralvagonzavod, a Russian machine building company in Nizhny Tagil, recently rejected the idea of selling the Armata heavy vehicle platform to China despite the nation demonstrating great interest in the tank platform according to the Vzglyad, a Moscow-based newspaper.

Oleg Bochkaryov, deputy chairman of the Military and Industrial Commission, said that the Armata Universal Combat Platform will be commissioned by the Russian army next month. After they take part in the military parade on May 9 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, all Armata tanks are to be brought back to the plant for modifications before they enter regular service with the Russian military.

Russian Armata main battle tank

After three years of tests with combat units, production of the Armata Universal Combat Platform will officially begin in 2018. China had already demonstrated great interest in purchasing the tanks from Russia even though they are yet to enter active service. However, Uralvagonzavod opposed the idea of providing any advanced tanks to China to prevent Beijing from stealing technology from Moscow through reverse engineering.

Beijing-Moscow High-Speed Rail Line Worth $242 Billion Approved

A social media post, published by Beijing’s municipal government yesterday, finally confirmed that China are to go ahead with plans to build a multi-billion dollar high-speed rail link between Beijing and Moscow.

The line aims will provide super fast transport across Central Asia and will compete with the Trans-Siberian Railway, cutting travel time between the two countries from six days to two,according to the government’s post on social media website Weibo. 

 However, critics of the 1.5 trillion yuan ($242 billion) project fear that the investment will have to be shouldered mostly by China. Russian economy has floundered over the last few months due to the sanctions imposed by Europe and the U.S. over Russia’s role in the Ukrainian crisis. The severe drop in crude oil prices has also had a devastating effect on the strength of the rouble. 
A Chinese blog has claimed that the rail link will have multiple long term benefits, including improving the country’s food shortage problems as fertile soil can be easily imported from Russia. The site also said the link would provide an easy way for Chinese farmers to migrate to Russia where they would set up farms to supply food to both countries.  

Russia has long had a strong relationship with China, which has only been strengthen by the recent souring in relations with Europe and U.S. As well as the finalization of this new transport link, in May last year the two countries increased the transfer of energy resources between them, signing a gas supply deal worth $400 billion. The 30 year contract stipulates that 38 billion cubic meters of Russian gas will be supplied annually to China, according to Russian news agency Itar-Tass.  

Trade between the two countries exceeded $95bn in 2014, according to the Chinese customs department, a 6.8% growth on the year before, with raw materials such as oil, ore and timber accounting for 80% of the trade.

U.S. Military Denies Snowden Claim That China Stole Top-Secret Warplane Data

U.S. military officials are pushing back against a claim that National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden made last week about China stealing top-secret data on a pricey warplane program.

Snowden, a former contractor who fled the United States after exposing NSA spy secrets, shared documents with German magazine Der Spiegel that appear to show that China stole sensitive data about the warplane, including engine schematics and radar design.
The magazine made public a report on China’s intelligence theft earlier this month.
But on Tuesday, the F-35 fighter jet program office told Reuters that the documents released by Der Spiegel only show non-classified data about the jet.

“Classified F-35 information is protected and remains secure,” the program office told Reuters in a statement.

In the statement, Pentagon officials said they continue to take all potential cyberattacks seriously, and that the incident in question was not expected to negatively impact the program, Reuters reported.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Monday denied China stole the jet data, according to The New York Times. The “complexity” of the alleged cyberattacks “means that it is extremely difficult to identify the source,” Mr. Lei said.
“I wonder if they can produce evidence to prop up such accusation and groundless attack,” he said.

Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren declined on Tuesday to discuss whether the Chinese had been able to peek at U.S. military technology secrets.
“We never talk about cyber-intrusions and we don’t comment on leaked information,” he said.

Russia To Offer Fighter Sales & Development to Brazil

Russia is to offer Brazil joint development of the Sukhoi T-50 (PAK-FA) fifth-generation fighter in a bid to secure an order for its Su-35S “Flanker-E” combat aircraft.
A military delegation is expected to make the offer when it visits the South American country in the coming days, according to RIA Novosti .

"During the talks in Brazil, we are ready to offer deliveries of ready-for-sale advanced aircraft like the Su-35, but also joint development of a next-generation [combat] aircraft of the T-50 type," the publication quoted a delegation source as saying.

The Brazilian Air Force's (Força Aérea Brasileira - FAB) is in the middle of its F-X2 fighter competition to find a replacement for its ageing Dassault Mirage 2000 aircraft. Along with the Eurofighter Typhoon and Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, the Sukhoi Su-35 has already been axed from the proceedings, leaving the Saab JAS 39 Gripen E, Dassault Rafale, and Boeing FA-18E/F Super Hornet to battle it out for the 36-jet tender.

Russian PAKFA Fighter Jet
Russia To Offer PAKFA Development to Brazil.

Although the Brazilian government has delayed its announcement of a winning platform until after the 2014 general election, it has made it clear that it will not be reopening the competition to admit new offerings. As such, any Russian bid would need to be outside the scope of the F-X2 programme.

Brazil”s National Defence Strategy (NDS) approved in 2008 is inextricably tied to the National Strategy of Development (NSD), and development of the country”s indigenous aerospace industry is as important to the government as fielding a new fighter aircraft. "If we want to have a strong defence strategy, it has to be with a strong development strategy to strengthen our defence industrial base. The focus is national technological independence," General Aprígio Eduardo de Moura Azevedo, FAB Chief of Staff, said during the IQPC International Fighter conference in late 2012.

While the Su-35S is a highly capable 4+ Generation platform that employs fifth-generation systems such as the NIIP Irbis-E passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar, any Brazilian interest in the Russian proposals will likely hinge on the co-development work being offered on the PAK-FA.

Why China Will Become a Global Military Power

For over a decade, academics, policymakers, and government officials have been engaged in a relentless debate about Chinese military capabilities and intentions. To some, China is likely an expansionist country akin to Germany before WWI. Others argue that China’s assertive behavior in its regional offshore island disputes is simply a manifestation of the Chinese Communist Party’s focus on domestic stability, which precludes any broader global ambitions.

Mastro photo Contrary to the extremes of the current debate, the Chinese military will be neither hollow nor a juggernaut. While the Chinese leadership would prefer to stay focused on internal development and regional issues, I argue in a recent article in The National Interest that facts on the ground will increasingly compel the Party to develop some global operational capabilities. Specifically, the burgeoning need to protect commercial assets and Chinese nationals abroad will inevitably shape modernization of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) toward limited global power projection, regardless of its current plans or intentions. Even though the Chinese leadership will embark on this path with very limited goals in mind, Chinese thinking on how and when to use force could change once its strategy, doctrine, and capabilities evolve to incorporate these new roles.

While I posit that commercial, domestic, and international drivers will push the PLA to have an increasing global presence, this does not equate to fighting major wars and stationing troops abroad. If we define global military power by the standard of the United States, no country qualifies. The question here is not whether China would have the capacity to invade and occupy far-off countries, as only the United States can; but whether, like other second-tier powers, it will develop the capacity to project limited but meaningful force outside its immediate region.

Chinese Companies Create the Strategic Demand

In the near future, economic motivations will drive the development of China’s limited global power projection capabilities. Approximately 20,000 Chinese companies have a presence in more than 180 countries and regions, creating a constant demand for government protection of these assets. Furthermore, Chinese overseas investment is growing: at US$60 billion, China’s annual outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) in 2011 was 20 times the 2005 amount.

As Chinese investments increase, threats to those assets will increase in tandem. This is particularly the case in politically unstable countries where nationalization or seizure is always a possibility, or in countries that have ongoing territorial conflicts where anti-China protests have often resulted in damage to Chinese-owned property. While still a fledging phenomenon, there are recent examples of instances that could drive China to develop limited expeditionary capabilities to augment its response options.

These incidents are occurring more frequently and are increasingly threatening to the Party’s strategic and political interests. Statements made by the Chinese political and military leadership acknowledge that China’s need for stable access to natural resources in addition to exploding foreign investment have expanded its interests beyond the region, while their capabilities lag behind. Wang Yi in his first speech as China’s foreign minister outlined trends and principles in foreign policy, highlighting the need to align China’s foreign policy with its expanding global interests. China’s 2013 Defense White Paper noted that “security risks to China’s overseas interests are on the increase” and included for the first time a section on protecting Chinese overseas interests. And in recent months, China’s president Xi Jinping himself has publicly stressed the critical importance of a strong military to a successful foreign policy and dismissed the option of passivity.

China To Launch World’s ‘Hack-Proof’ Network By 2016

China is completing the project of the planet’s longest, 2,000-kilometer quantum communication network from Beijing to Shanghai. The network is considered “unhackable” and is set to start operating in 2016.

The “unhackability” is due to the most secure encryption technology ever, the South China Morning Post reported.
By 2030, the network is expected to stretch all over the globe, Xinhua news agency said.
For now, the service is to be used by the Chinese government, the military and key business institutions such as banks. 

The plans were disclosed by Professor Pan Jianwei, a quantum physicist with the University of Science and Technology of China and a lead scientist behind the project. 

China Quantum Communication Network
China Quantum Communication Network

"China's quantum information science and technology is developing very fast and China leads in some areas in this field. Any city in China, as long they want to, can start to build the quantum communication network now," he said, Xinhua reported. 

Chen Yuxiang, chief engineer for the construction of the Beijing-Shanghai network, indicated that the infrastructure would be ready between the end of the year and next summer. The network also needs to be built and activated. 

The budget for the Beijing-Shanghai project is estimated at 100 million yuan ($16 million) for every 10,000 users. 

Theoretically, the quantum network can’t be hacked: should anyone try to intercept the encryption key, the physical status of the quantum data, or qubits, would change, and alert those who sent the information. 

State of Aerospace Engine for China's PLA

The issue of finding adequate and reliable engine has always been an issue for china's PLA. The navy seems to be getting by with license building advanced diesel engines, which are not under embargo, for most of its ships and some copied or home developed gas turbines for shipping class that need them. The air force has always seen delays due to problems in local production of engines for a series or waiting for Russian engine options. Shenyang AC has been quite unfortunate in having 2 of its recent aircraft programs (J-8F and J-11B) delayed due to issues with production of a new class domestic engine. I've talked in the past about the state of engine production in China, but was overly optimistic over the program in those cases. So, this entry will attempt to look at some of the domestic engine programs and their import programs.

FWS-10 Turbofan Engine

First, the FWS-10 program is probably the most relevant to the current well being of PLA. We are at a point where all the recent J-11Bs have been produced with FWS-10 along with J-15S and J-16. I'm sure they are still working through problems with a new engine like FWS-10, but it's no longer problematic like early 2011, when SAC had many J-11Bs without engine seating out in its airfields. At that time, the Chinese air force simply refused to take those aircraft because issues with FWS-10. By this point, Russians were more careful about making sure their AL-31F did not end up on J-11B, so the project was basically on hold after that first regiment of J-11B join service with AL-31F. By now, we have seen 4 more J-11B regiments with PLAAF and 3 more J-11B regiments with PLANAF. Assuming that all of these regiments become full at some point this year, that would be approximately 7 x 24 = 168 J-11B/BS in service with FWS-10. Including the J-15/16 prototypes that SAC is building every year, I would guess easily 30 to 40 flankers are produced every year using FWS-10 as power plant. Assuming that a spare is produced for every 2 engines, the yearly production of FWS-10 could be over 100 at this point. So the question is why they are still using AL-31FN on J-10B and AL-31F on J-15. I think at this point they are developing a naval version of FWS-10 to last through the wear and tear of naval operation. At the same time, a higher thrust version is required to support the added take-off weight on J-16. Future flankers will continue to use WS-10 series. A J-10B prototype with FWS-10A is probably still being tested, but it would probably have to match the performance of AL-31FN series 3 (1000 ton more thrust than base layer) in order to be equipped on J-10B production batches. Also, the current J-20 prototypes are also most likely using AL-31FN series 3 engines. As we move forward, this version of AL-31FN is certainly not a viable option for production version of J-20. China can choose a later AL-31FN series that would be equivalent to AL-31FM2 or FM3, which would have comparable or more power than 117S engine that are used on Su-35 right now. If the upgraded variant of FWS-10 goes into production, that could be used in both J-20 or future batches of J-10B. So I would think the first few years of J-20 production (maybe 2 regiments) will be using underpowered engines (140 to 150 kN range with afterburner) and then WS-15 will go into production. Back in 2010, one of the few good Chinese sources on engines mentioned that WS-15 was probably 10 years from mass production based on where the program was at. Articles on WS-15 are hard to come by, but my guess is that they will start to test it out on fighter jet in a couple of years. After that, it will be a waiting game for certification.

Pakistan to Get Z-10 Gunship Chopper from China?

Pakistan to Get Z-10 Gunship Chopper from China
Pakistan to Get Z-10 Gunship Chopper from China

Yu Min, 'Father of China's H-bomb', Wins Top Science Award

Veteran nuclear physicist Yu Min - dubbed the "father of China's hydrogen bomb" - has received the country's top science award.

Yu, 89, an academic with the Chinese Academy of Sciences who has been involved in research into nuclear weapons since the 1960s, was presented with the National Highest Science and Technology Award by President Xi Jinping at a ceremony yesterday, mainland media reported. The award comes with a 5 million yuan (HK$6.3 million) cash prize.
Yu was a leading scientist in designing the country's hydrogen bomb, winning a medal for his contribution to "two bombs, one satellite" - China's self-reliant national defence programme - in 1999.

China detonated its first hydrogen bomb in 1967, a little more than two-and-a-half years after the country's first atomic bomb test - much less time than the seven years and three months the United States took to develop a hydrogen bomb after its first atomic test.
Nuclear weapon projects were highly classified in the 1960s so Yu's name remained a secret until 1988, when he officially retired. Even his wife had no idea of his involvement in the project before then.

After solving one key problem in 1965, Yu reportedly used code to relay his breakthrough to Deng Jiaxian, another scientist who played an instrumental role in developing China's atomic and hydrogen weapons.

Yu reportedly phoned Deng and told him that he "hunted a squirrel" that had an "uncommon physical structure", and "needed more manpower to help with dissection", as a hint for his new findings. Deng rushed to Shanghai from Beijing after the phone call, the newspaper reported.

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